An upbeat UDF and determined LDF vie to capture Ernakulam

An upbeat UDF and determined LDF vie to capture Ernakulam

The United Democratic Front (UDF) is confident of Ernakulam, while the Left Democratic Front (LDF) is determined to capture the district.

When the 2015 local body poll results were out, there was not much difference between the UDF and LDF. But five years since, the LDF has advantage in panchayats and municipalities.

Even when the LDF rules the state, the Left front has just a few MLAs in the district - 5 of 14. Same is the case with the Lok Sabha. Probably because of this, the UDF considers Ernakulam as its stronghold. But the LDF too fancies its chances in the district. Contrary to the perception, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) does not have much growth at the grassroots level. Their alliance strategy has also not been very effective either. However, the influence it wields in some sectors makes the NDA a crucial factor in the elections.

The seat-sharing formula

The three major political fronts were able to complete the arduous task of seat-sharing without much trouble. The UDF, that often sweats it out over seat-sharing, had some 'vacancy' this time with the exit of the Kerala Congress (M).

Though the Joseph group sought a share of this, the Congress appeased the faction. The Congress also got the seats of the LJD which left the coalition. The Muslim League did not seek a much larger share. Therefore, the Congress got more number of seats.

The LDF granted lot of seats for the newly inducted Kerala Congress (M) faction in the eastern region. The front was also careful not to irk the CPI. The CPM sought back its seats from minor allies to make up the numbers.

Cold-shouldered, the LJD expressed its ire by fielding a former mayor against the CPM candidate.

The LDF is hopeful of big wins in the eastern agricultural belt due to the influence wielded by the Kerala Congress (M) and the organisational strength of the Left. The Jose faction has to prove its mettle to stay afloat.

The biggest problem for the NDA is not seat-sharing but the lack of candidates. They did not have candidates for several seats in the eastern regions of the district.

Twenty20, that won 17 of the 19 seats at Kizhakamblam panchayat in the last polls, is contesting in more panchayats this year. Several regional outfits, including the V4Kochi in the corporation polls, is giving a tough competition.

Meeting the voters

Most of the voters are keeping themselves indoors and the candidates are largely depending on door-to-door campaigning to reach out to them amid the pandemic. Though pamphlets are distributed during each visit, the parties are not sure as to how many in the house will actually read these.

Only those who step out would see the posters along the roadside and on the walls.

Candidates are also making short videos to be posted on WhatsApp and Facebook. However, fiery speeches by leaders over national and state politics to milling crowds are missing this time.

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